Irish potato recipes have had a large impact on the people of Ireland throughout the decades. In preparing for St Patrick’s Day, I have been reading and talking to many people of Irish heritage.
What I have found is that prior to about the 1600s, food in Ireland was very short, especially for the poor peasants.
Around 1600 potatoes were brought to Ireland from South American to be planted. Amazingly the potatoes were easy to take root and grow with very little labor in the fertile soil and cool moist climate of Ireland.
So many potatoes were grown that it became known as the staple crop. The once starving peasants were not only able to eat now but their health thrived on a potato diet; they were so much stronger than the British peasants.
Although potatoes played an important part in the history of the cuisine of other countries, like my German background, Irish potato recipes was a mainstay to the Irish. By the 1800s the people in the poorest regions totally relied on the crop for their existence. Many considered them to be bland (Today they certainly are not bland with all our flavoring) but they provided food for their hungry bodies.
Then in the mid 1800s the unthinkable happed to destroy the making of any Irish potato recipes. A horrible fungus had somehow traveled from Mexico to Ireland wiping out the entire potato crop. The country suffered from famine and infestations. Over the next decade hundreds of thousands of Irish people died and many more left the country.
The British government made an effort to help but everything they did seemed to make things worse. Soup kitchens and work stations were set up but quickly ended. No one was prepared to deal with such an emergency of this magnitude. Not only destroying any hopes for Irish potato recipes but the famine left lasting bitterness and mistrust toward the British.
As a result of the Irish potato famine, the people no longer totally rely on Irish potato recipes for their food. They are now diversified growing other crops like oats, barley and sugar beets. They also rely heavily on locally grown vegetables like cabbage, turnips, parsnips and carrots. Fish now is a large part of the Irish life as well as cattle, lamb and pork.
Irish potato recipes can be anything from Irish potato candy, cake recipes, bread recipes, entrees like Dublin coddle or to just delicious potato side dishes like the famous colcannon. Some of my favorite Irish potato recipes are the Irish appetizers. The following recipe is an old Irish recipe given to me by a friend.
IRISH BOXTY RECIPE
Combine raw potatoes and mashed potatoes in a large bowl.
Combine and mix flour, salt and soda in another bowl; add to the potatoes.
Add onions and ham; stir well to form dough.
Roll dough out in circle ½ inch thick on a well floured board; cut into serving wedges.
Heat bacon fat in a skillet until hot; brown wedges on both sides.
Drain on paper towels.
HAM AND POTATO CHOWDER RECIPE
This is one of the Irish potato recipes so good and warming when it is cold and damp outside.
Sauté onion, celery and ham in melted butter in a large saucepan.
Add potatoes and cook 10 minutes longer; remove from heat and add flour, salt and pepper.
Add milk and return to heat; warm slowly do not boil.
LAMB FILLING WITH GOAT CHEESE MASHED POTATOES
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Combine flour, salt and pepper in small bowl; toss lamb in flour mixture.
Heat oil in Dutch oven; brown lamb in oil.
Add onions and garlic and sauté until onions are tender 3 to 4 minutes.
Pour in the beer and scrape up any browned bits on bottom or sides of pan.
Add broth, thyme and bay leaf; stir to mix.
Cover pan and place in preheated oven for 30, minutes; remove bay leaf.
Make cheese mashed potato recipe and spread over the stew; dot top with pieces of butter.
Bake uncovered for an additional 20 minutes until potatoes are golden brown.
CHEESE MASHED POTATO RECIPE
Beat potatoes and cheese thinning with milk.
POTATO AND CABBAGE RECIPE
This potato and cabbage recipe is similar to other Irish potato recipes like the Colcannon; the difference is that these potatoes are not cook real tender so they do not mash as creamy.
Cook unpeeled potatoes in lightly salted water just until tender. (Not soft)
Trim leeks and chop both white and green; cover with milk and cook until soft.
Chop cabbage and cook for 5 minutes in lightly salted water; drain and chop in small pieces.
Drain potatoes, peel and put through ricer.
Beat potatoes with mixer; add leeks and milk mixture and season with salt, pepper and mace.
Beat in cabbage; shape mixture on serving platter.
Make well in center of mixture; pour hot melted butter in center well.
IRISH POTATO SCONE RECIPE
As I said, don’t be surprised at any Irish potato recipes you might find. Whatever it is for, the potatoes will give it added texture and flavor as in this Irish potato scone recipe.
Heat butter and water together in a small saucepan; after butter melts stir in sifted flour.
When mixture is smooth, break in the eggs one at a time beating with electric mixer.
Beat in hot mashed potatoes until smooth; add salt.
Turn dough out onto floured surface and let set to cool; sprinkle with flour, wrap and chill for several hours.
Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out to ½ inch thick into circle and cut into wedges.
Heat a little oil in large skillet until hot; cook scones until brown on both sides.
Serve hot with butter.
This is one of the Irish potato recipes which makes a nice presentation to a pork dinner.
Shape well seasoned mashed potatoes into small apple shapes; use clove in place of stem.
Brush with egg yolk diluted with water; dust with paprika.
Brown in hot oven (425F degrees) and serve on plate with sliced pork.